USL Game Report
Thursday, September 17, 2015
TUKWILA, Wash. - Seattle Sounders FC 2 fought back from a first half deficit to secure the sixth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference with a 3-2 victory against the Austin Aztex Thursday night at Starfire Stadium.
S2 (13-12-3, 42 points) needed at least a draw to keep its season alive, and the team's prospects were looking bright early as an Aztex handball in the penalty area was whistled for a penalty kick. Sergio Mota beat Austin goalkeeper Cody Laurendi to convert the penalty, and give the home side a 1-0 lead in the 9th minute.
The game took a sharp turn moments later, however, when a deflected ball found its way to Aztex forward Trevin Caesar in a dangerous position on the right side of the penalty area. Caesar pounced on the opportunity, and beat Seattle goalkeeper Charlie Lyon to even the score 1-1 inside 12 minutes.
Sounders FC 2 responded well to the initial setback, applying heavy pressure to the Austin goal, with Laurendi forced to make several outstanding saves to keep the score level.
After absorbing several waves of S2 attacks, the Aztex made their own attack count, as young forward Romain Gall provided a moment of brilliance to stun the hosts in the 38th minute. Gall picked the ball up on the left side of midfield, moved forward into open space, and unleashed a low rocket from 30 yards out, which bounced off the left post and in for a 2-1 Austin lead.
With the club's playoff hopes suddenly in real jeopardy, S2 looked forward again for an answer. The team found it quickly when a corner kick delivery beat the Aztex defense, and was eventually turned in by Seattle defender Ashani Fairclough from close range, leveling the score just before halftime.
After the break, Sounders FC 2 took firmer control of the game, holding a majority of posession and generating several chances to take the lead.
The hosts got their breakthrough in the 85th minute, from another unexpected source, as defender Nick Miele beat the Aztex defensive line on a looping ball from Aaron Long after a corner was half-cleared, and turned home a nice cross for the go-ahead goal.
Sounders FC 2 held on for the 3-2 victory from there, booking the first-year club's place in the USL Playoffs, where it will travel to face its first round opponent next weekend.
The result also eliminated Tulsa Roughnecks FC from postseason contention, as the Roughnecks needed a Seattle loss to advance to the playoffs.
For the Aztex, they will conclude their season on Sunday with a trip to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.